How To Take Great Nature Photography

Posted by: mj  :  Category: Photography

Author: Robert

You see them all the time, fantastic photos that people have taken out in nature. So, how do they get pictures that great? and all of yours seem sort of plain? Here are a few tips to taking your own amazing nature photos.

Study. Remember in school how studying always got you better grades? Nature photography can work to some extent the same way. A few weeks before your vacation go to the library or bookstore and pick up a few books on nature photography. You don’t need a how to book; really what you’re looking for are collections of photos taken by nature photographers. Look through the book and take note of how the picture appears to have been taken. What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? Looking at what other people have done can give you ideas when your out in the field trying to take pictures of your own.

If you’re going on a trip to take pictures of a particular bird or animal, do your research on your topic. Know the habits of the animal, where you’re going to find it, and how to behave around it. You’ll be glad you did your studying when it comes time to take your pictures.

Get a manual focus camera. Sure your digital camera is fantastic, but if you truly want to take fantastic nature photographs, then you are going to need a camera with a manual focus. You can purchase digital cameras with a manual focus, but they will often cost you a pretty penny. If a digital SLR isn’t in your price range, seriously consider purchase a film SLR, you’ll be glad you did. The quality of your pictures will increase dramatically when you have the ability to change lenses, and rack the focus of your photos.

Be patient. The best nature photographs are not the ones that you seek out, but the ones you stumble upon. Take a relaxing walk through the woods, or around a lake. Go boating, have fun in the outdoors. Just happen to have your camera with you when that perfect photo becomes available.

Use a fast shutter speed. Nature is always changing. Make sure you catch the photo opportunity you’re looking for by having a camera with a fast shutter speed. The faster the shutter speeds the easier it will be for you to capture the moment, rather than miss it by a few seconds.

Experiment. A 10 year old can take a picture of a flower. Before you take the picture look around, and think about how you could make the photograph interesting. There are tons of things you can do that can dramatically enhance a nature photograph. Change the angle of your shot, change where your focus is. Maybe the flower isn’t in the foreground it is in the background of your photo.

Don’t be afraid to take chances, the best photos are the ones that take what could have been an ordinary photo and make it extraordinary. A manual focus can help make your photos creative. A fast shutter speed can help you not miss a shot. The more creative you are with your pictures, the better they often are.

Butterfly Tribal Tattoos

Posted by: mj  :  Category: Tattooing

Author: lucy watson

Butterfly tribal tattoos are now famous because it represents beauty, grace, refinement and fragility. There are different sizes and shapes of butterfly tattoo designs that are most loved by men and women. Butterfly tattoos also come in different color schemes that ranges from two-tones to colorful ones. Butterfly tattoos known for its unique, gorgeous and striking colors. Anyone who has a butterfly tattoo can be a head turner. For sure, you have seen or come across people with butterfly tattoos because people are going crazy about it.

Females choose butterfly tattoos because it symbolizes magic, metamorphosis, femininity and rebirth. Most women want their butterfly tattoos tattooed on ankles, shoulders, lower back area, upper back area, chest and armbands or just about anywhere. With the huge number of butterfly images available, it can take quite some time to choose the perfect butterfly tattoo design. People who have chosen butterfly tattoos may have gone through a transformative experience in life and want to express it in the form of butterflies.

Butterfly tattoos are so famous that even high profile celebrities are choosing it. Drew Barrymore has a butterfly tattoo under her navel. Britney Spears and Paris Hilton also have butterfly tattoos, which prove that butterfly tattoos are feminine tattoos. Nowadays, more and more women and even men are considering butterfly tattoos.

There are instances and traditions where butterflies are used to signify witches, abundance and divine love. If you wish to have a butterfly tattoo, choose the one that represents your personality. Aside from representing metamorphosis, butterfly tattoos also symbolize life, freedom or life after death. With all the different butterfly tattoo designs, you can absolutely choose one that reflects your personality.

Oftentimes, many people ask about the meaning of the butterfly. In some cultures, butterflies are recognized as a bringer of bad news or bad luck, while most people regard it as a symbol of new life or a new beginning. The earlier cultures believed that caterpillars die to give life to the butterfly, which made them assume that butterflies are bad luck. The latter focused on the rebirth of the caterpillar through the butterfly, which made the significance of the butterfly tattoo popular.

In Japanese culture, butterflies are known as the embodiment of one’s soul. In Chinese culture, the butterfly represents young love of a young heart. They believe that it is a symbol of grace and is associated with romanticism.

There are hundreds of tattoo designs such as Hawaiian tribal tattoos, tribal bear tattoos and so much more. However, why do most females prefer butterfly tattoos? Many females choose butterfly tattoo designs for its symbolism and specification while some people choose it because of its appearance, without ever knowing its representation. When you go to a tattoo parlor, you will find pre made designs of butterfly tattoos or you can have it customized. Butterfly tattoo is one of the most popular tattoo designs among females because it helps them to convey their feminine side. They can choose from small to big and bold tribal butterflies and still there are hundreds of designs to choose from.

butterflyButterfly tattoos are often placed on the back. Other women put the butterfly tattoo on their ankles and wrist, or on their chest. However, there are no rules concerning where you want to put a tattoo. You can have it hidden under clothing if you are looking for a job because some companies have restrictions when hiring people with body art. Those who consider tattoo as a fashion trend show off their tattoos and make it visible for others to see. If you want to have a butterfly tattoo, make sure that you choose the best design that reflects your personality. Also, choose the perfect spot so that other people can appreciate it.

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What will a new president do for the arts?

Posted by: mj  :  Category: News

What would an Obama or McCain presidency do for the arts? Or will the new President’s hands be tied by the economic turmoil?

Michelle Obama recently took some relatives to see a revue at a Chicago theatre. Her husband did not accompany them. He’d already been to see a production of The Color Purple a few nights before, and anyway, it probably wasn’t appropriate: the show was called Between Barack and a Hard Place, and it made comedy of the last days of the primaries as Hillary Clinton fought vainly to knock down a man who, the show suggested, somehow managed to be black, white, Jewish, Latino, gay and, if needs must, a soccer mom too. He was something to everyone, and a liberal’s dream.

Liberals may or may not see their dreams come true tomorrow, but whether Obama or McCain is elected the 44th President of the United States, we might wonder what will unfold in the arts in the coming years. Won’t many writers and artists lose their muse – along with their enemy – when Bush disappears? We’ve had countless Bush-era movies, from Kimberly Peirce’s Stop-Loss to Oliver Stone’s W.; we’ve had books such as Nicholson Baker’s Bush-assassination novella Check-point and Curtis Sittenfeld’s roman à clef, American Wife, wondering at how Laura Bush turned from a liberal-leaning librarian into the Republican First Lady.

The past eight years have also produced a flourishing of political art, so much so that when a Los Angeles print publisher decided to produce a portfolio to be sold in aid of the Obama campaign it managed to extract designs from the likes of Jasper Johns, Richard Serra, Ellsworth Kelly and Ed Ruscha, and raised $3 million.

No, creative liberals won’t be sorry to see the back of Bush. But might an Obama presidency be just too much of a good thing? Happiness writes white, after all. John Lahr, the theatre critic of The New Yorker, says: “Historically, in times when there is change or hope, there is much more protest and wideranging opinion and activity in Broadway’s experimental theatres. People feel that someone will listen. What we’ve had for the past eight years is a kind of torpor and resignation, and that’s made theatre lose a lot of heat. I think there will be a lot more political, polemical stuff.”

He might have a point. The last time America pinned its hopes on a young president, John F. Kennedy, we saw the release of first albums by Joan Baez and Bob Dylan (the latter admittedly shortly before his election); Joseph Heller published Catch-22 and Ken Kesey put out One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Visual art, meanwhile, turned away from the introversion and darkness of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art flourished.

Of course, the 2008 election isn’t over yet, and the arts may have to look to John McCain for support. Would he be so different? Perhaps not. Coincidentally, both Obama and McCain have cited Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls as one of their favourite reads. In particular, they identified with the tough American hero, Robert Jordan, who hides out in caves during the Spanish Civil War, trying to wage guerrilla war on the fascists. “Robert Jordan was everything I ever wanted to be,” McCain once said.

But the similarities probably end there. McCain’s tastes in the arts aren’t well publicised, but Obama gave an interview to Rolling Stone in July in which he revealed a few of his desert island discs, and they aren’t likely to be the same as those of his septuagenarian opponent. Springsteen is a favourite, naturally: the Boss is a stalwart Democrat. Dylan he also likes. And he’s loved Stevie Wonder since his youth. More incongruously, he also says that he is on friendly terms with Jay-Z (though he hastens to add that he worries about his daughters listening to the rapper’s music).

Whatever it might do for the music business – probably not much, given the deep problems in the industry – Lahr has high hopes for an Obama presidency. “I think the very existence of Barack Obama says something profoundly hopeful about the American experiment. He himself has said it’s going to be slow. But I think what we’re going to see is a redefinition of the relationship between the individual and the community.” And Mike Goodridge, the US editor of Screen International, believes that an Obama presidency will make a difference in Hollywood. “I do think that in the past eight years American cinema has become a lot bleaker. There have been films such as No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. The classic example is the Batman film The Dark Knight, which is a horrifying indictment of contemporary America.”

These are changes that may happen no matter what direction Obama steers the arts (assuming, again, that he wins). But he does have plans. Early on in his campaign, he convened a 33-strong National Arts Policy Committee, including the novelist Michael Chabon and the founder of the American Film Institute, George Stevens Jr. The team then issued a two-page document laying out Obama’s vision for the arts. There’s much talk of arts education, “to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society”. Obama wants an “artist corps” to go into schools and ginger up disadvantaged schoolchildren, and there’s talk of more money for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Over several months McCain was prodded to release a similar document, until finally, two weeks ago, he issued four sentences including a some ominous murmuring about “priorities” in spending: “Where local priorities allow, he believes investing in arts education can play a role in nurturing the creativity of expression so vital to the health of our cultural life.”

Of course, Obama’s talk of boosted funding may be moot now that America is facing recession. McCain’s “priorities” may have to be Obama’s as well. But even without an economic downturn, the arts could probably expect lean times under McCain, as he has a record of voting to abolish or cut funding for the NEA.

The NEA has proved divisive over the years: when commentators speak broadly of “the culture wars”, they refer to a battle of values between liberals and religious conservatives, yet some of the fiercest fighting in the 1990s was over the NEA’s funding for exhibits by artists such as Andreas Serrano and Robert Mapplethorpe. In 1992 funding for the NEA stood at $175 million; today, as a result of those conflicts, it’s $125 million. Bush did little to encourage the NEA during his presidency, though he made headlines in 2004 by increasing the budget by $18 million – the largest increase since 1984 – to fund American Masterpieces, a contentious scheme to promote canonical American culture.

In any case, it’s fair to suppose that economic pressures will trump any kind of political influence in shaping the next few years in the American arts. Some have already been speculating about it. New York magazine recently had fun predicting the state of the arts under this “New Great Depression”: maybe artists will revisit Dorothea Lange’s 1936 photo Migrant Mother to record the fates of migrant bankers; perhaps R.Kelly will resurrect the Gershwin classic as Porgy and Bitches; or Gone with the Wind will be reshot in hipster Brooklyn, where a

“battle of the bands” will replace the Civil War setting, and Brett will say to Scarlett: “Frankly, O’Hara, whatever.”

More seriously, Lahr predicts hard times on Broadway. “In times of fear, people don’t want to think, so you tend to get musicals, spectacle, documentary. It tends to lower the literary quality of work. And producers aren’t going to take risks with unknown products.” Similarly, Goodridge sees poor fare at the cinema. “Film is the cheapest form of entertainment and it has ridden out recessions repeatedly, but Hollywood as a corporate society has suffered terribly over the past year; there have been massive lay-offs.” And that is going to have an effect. “Mamma Mia! is about as mindless as you can get in terms of escapist entertainment, and look how successful that’s been. Whereas the failure of the Iraq war films has just made the studios more keenly aware that they just have to produce blockbusters.”

And in the contemporary art market the balloon is ripe to burst. The New York art critic Jerry Saltz last week predicted casualties: “Forty to fifty New York galleries will close… An art magazine will cease publication… A major art fair will call it quits… Museums will cancel shows.” Nevertheless, he thinks that some of this might be a good thing. Too many artists have been getting away with murder.

Even the New York-based Japanese artist Takashi Murakami agrees – and he hasn’t exactly missed out on the highcotton years. “Maybe we can have a conversation about the concepts,” he says. Earlier this month the comedian Stephen Colbert wondered if things might get so bad on the high street that some American shoppers may have to stop shopping, visit libraries and borrow books. It would be awful, it would be un-American, but if things get tough, they are ready.


Roseanne Barr, comedian I think the world is about to change for the better. Bush ruined it and now people have no choice but to try to put it back together. He’s like Humpty Dumpty.

Edward Albee, playwright I see no cultural legacy from Bush. After 9/11 writers were bombarded with requests to write about the event, and the great majority of us said: “Something’s going to come out of this, probably, but let’s wait until it happens; hysterical journalism doesn’t really help much.” I’m more interested in the deep malaise in this country that has permitted us to have eight years of George W. Bush.

Brian Dennehy, actor There’s been a tremendous amount of what I guess you’d call outraged art, an anti-Bush industry on hand ready to fulminate about how disastrous he is. But the conclusions are often more complicated than the left has wanted to hear.

Tony Kushner, playwright Bush is a person, as far as I can tell, without culture, though there was some weird moment when he was inviting philosophers and historians to the White House for late-night conversations about the meaning of life and how he’d be remembered. Most of those who went were very closed-mouthed about it.

Tim Robbins, actor, director I said when Bush was re-elected that it was a good day for satirists and punk rockers, and I do think that when things get this bad that it leads to stronger art. But at the end of the day I’d rather see civil liberties than kick-ass art.

Oskar Eustis, artistic director, Public Theatre, New York The Bush administration has been disastrous. The kind of isolationism he has promoted has tremendously increased the difficulty of the cultural flow of traffic: it’s much harder than it once was to get foreign nationals into the United States. The other thing that can’t be underestimated is the time bomb he has left in terms of the deficit: the economic crisis that is just beginning to spread its toxin is going to leave this poison where the arts are going to be one of the first places that suffer.

Justin Bond. writer, performer, and drag artist I’ve never really gone after George W. Bush as a target because I felt he was too easy. It’s the forces behind him of fundamentalist religion and of greed – the power structure behind the neocon movement – that has made me really angry. It’s become very clear how damaging that entire agenda has become to the country and to the world.

Margo Lion, Broadway producer and Obama volunteer I probably don’t think George W. Bush is a bad guy, though I have other feelings about other people. I just feel so disheartened by what’s happened in the last eight years. I’m sure this all sounds so touchy-feely, but when Barack came on the scene it was almost as if someone was watching over us. He always said, “If I make a good enough argument to the American people, I believe they’re a good people and I can win.” All I want to say to him now is, “God bless you; this is one big job.”

Wallace Shawn, actor and playwright I grew up in a country where my parents thought of Americans as benevolent people who were greeted joyfully by Europeans when they arrived in their jeeps at the end of World War II. Now we live in a time where you have to say that politicians openly proclaim the law of viciousness and trampling over people they didn’t like: Bush has openly mocked law and proclaimed a certain pleasure in sadism and exulted in holding prisoners and mistreating and torturing them, really. Of course this affects one emotionally: my emotional life has been very strongly affected by the fact that Bush was president and my writing life is affected by my emotional life.

Christopher Shinn, playwright The majority of my career has taken place in the Bush era so I’ve really known no other time as an artist. If anything strikes me, it’s the continuity between Clinton and Bush having to do with the relative strength of the economy, and the change is not that Bush is leaving but that the economic crisis and the coming recession might be severe enough to shake things up.

If anything the Bush era inspired less political art in that there was such a monolithic opinion that Bush was bad, which in fact opened the way for apolitical plays to thrive; it would be rude to name names. Many of the more notable plays of the time really have little to do with social or political issues. I just think it’s really important that those of us who are creating political art are doing more than dividing the world into black and white, the good guys and the bad guys. It’s been very clear, for instance, that Obama has been running to the right of McCain on the issue of Pakistan, for example, and equally clear that the left is going to have to ask tough questions about its candidate, which I don’t think we’ve done yet. These are the kinds of contradictions I am interested in exploring.



Let Instinct Guide You: Nude and Portrait Photography

Posted by: mj  :  Category: Photography

Author: Lou Lynch

Different imagery appeals to different photographers. From landscape photographers to artistic nude photographers and everyone in between, the photography world is a cornucopia of different styles, processes, and techniques.
For amateur photographers, it is hard to know what you will eventually want to shoot as you’ve yet to experience the many different paths one can take, so amateurs are usually generalists – they’ll shoot anything and everything. As you progress through your budding career, you’ll quickly learn what you love to shoot and what you hate to shoot and you’ll develop your very own style.

Here is a summary of two different types of popular photography today:

Nude Photography


Very rewarding and artistic, capturing the nude has fascinated artists from all walks of life. Photographers can capture such glorious images that play with light and shadow, and that push the boundaries of everyday living. The limitless potential and taboo aura makes artistic nude photography a favourite among professional and amateur photographers alike. Yet, it takes great skill to create a beautiful nude portrait, and the technique cannot easily be taught. Instinct must guide the photographer beyond the basic principles of composition into a realm where there are no rules.

Nude photography has many cousins in the erotic photography sphere; boudoir photography is one of them. Boudoir photography pushes our limits and incorporates much fantasy and eroticism into a photograph.

One of the main jobs of an artistic nude photographer is to control lighting contrast and ensure that subtle transitions in tone guide our perception of the human form. There are great masters of this art form in all cities of the world, but many settle in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Paris. Toronto photographers, for instance, may have a different style than Los Angeles photographers because of the different climate – this plays a role in where the setting for a nude photograph will take place.

Portrait Photography


Photographing people is entrenched in the very fabric of our humanity. Since the invention of the camera, we have been fascinated by seeing ourselves outside ourselves, so to speak. Amateur photographers the world over snap images all the time, but it is the professional photographer that truly understands when you photograph a fellow human being, you must capture their spirit.

The purpose of portrait photography is to reveal in the inner humanness of your subject. What is it that makes them special, unique and interesting? The most poised and accomplished portrait photographers know that revealing this is the secret for the success of any image. You want to look at a portrait and ask “What are they telling me?” and you should be able to draw clues from the subtleties of the photograph’s composition. This is what makes a portrait stand out from a snap shot. The portrait attempts to reveal the inner character of the person in front of the camera. Many photographers spend their entire lives trying to capture the truth in their images. Travel to any major city and you’ll find some of the best portrait photographers around. Toronto photographers and New York photographers and Paris Photographers all try to reveal the secret their sitter is hiding behind the veil.

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Pablo Picasso – One of the Worlds Most Famous Artists

Posted by: mj  :  Category: Drawing, Painting

Author: George Baxter

“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality”. These were the words spoken by child prodigy Pablo Picasso – a Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist and ceramist who is considered by many to be the 20th century’s best art genius. No other artist of the modern period achieved the range of influence which Picasso reached over twentieth century abstract art. Picasso is in all probability best known for the part he played in pioneering and developing Cubism. Picasso entered into marriage twice and was the father of four children, three of which were born outside wedlock.

Born in Malaga, Spain on October 25, 1881, Pablo Picasso was the son of a painter by the name of Don José Ruiz Blasco. His mother’s name was Doña Maria Picasso y Lopez. From a young age Picasso showed an exceptional talent for drawing. His father, realizing Picasso’s outstanding talent handed over his palette and brushes to him and swore to never again paint as long as he lived. In 1895 Picasso’s family moved to Barcelona. Picasso – aged 14 – took only one day to pass the entrance examination for the higher class at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts.

Picasso had his first exhibition in 1900 in Barcelona. That same year, he went to Paris – where he settled in 1904 – and his creativity flourished. The period from 1900 to 1904 was known as his ‘Blue Period’. This period of Picasso’s art is characterized by the utilization of different blue shades. These shades underlined the miserable lives of his subjects; he portrayed beggars, prostitutes and alcoholics. The suicide of Carlos Casagemas, Picasso’s friend; and Picasso’s trip to Spain were the stimuli for his Blue Period. His abstract art works during this period included a portrait of Cassagemas after his death, The Frugal Repast (1904) and Portrait of Soler.

The years 1905 and 1906 saw Picasso shifting from the dark Blue Period to a cheery Rose Period, featuring pink and orange colours and with circus-associated subjects. Most of Picasso’s abstract art paintings during the Rose Period were influenced by the affectionate relationship he had with Fernande Olivier. Following numerous variations and studies, Picasso came out with ‘Les demoiselles d’Avignon’, – his first Cubist work in 1907. African artefacts were the inspiration for this painting which critics considered to be only a copy of African ethnic art. In the following years Picasso along with his new artist friend Georges Braque explored the prospects of Cubism.

Picasso’s abstract art phase from 1908 to 1911 was an Analytic Cubism phase. He and Braque created landscape Cubist paintings using neutral colours and monochromatic browns. The Analytic Cubism phase was followed by the Synthetic Cubism phase which lasted up to 1919. Picasso produced his most celebrated art work ‘Guernica’ during his surrealist and neoclassical phase. For many, this large work done while the Spanish Civil War was in progress; was a depiction of the inhumanity, despair and violence of war.

Picasso was one of the participants in a sculpture exhibition held in 1949, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. His final works incorporated a variety of styles and were more expressive and colourful. Pablo Picasso passed away, aged 91, on the 8th of April, 1973 in Mougins, France.

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When the New Saatchi Gallery is Essential Viewing

Posted by: mj  :  Category: Painting

Author: Jane Hannington

The new Saatchi Gallery just off the trendy Kings Road in Chelsea is already becoming a “must see” destination for visitors to London.

Admission is free to this amazing display of contemporary art.

The imposing location at the Duke of York HQ is just a few minutes walk down Kings Road from Sloane Square underground station and just 10 minutes walk from Victoria station.

Currently on display is a stunning exhibition of pictures, sculptures and installations by 24 of China’s leading artists – mainly based in Beijing. Many of these innovative works are stunning and thought provoking and even humorous.

Of note are some very realistic wax sculptures including one of an elderly angel lying prone with realistic fleshy “poultry-looking” wings which appear to be almost real. There are some witty paintings of Chairman Mao in unlikely locations including Venice (enjoying the sun with a bikini-clad companion), the Yalta Conference, the McCarthy hearings and riding in an open carriage with the Queen Mother.

In the basement is a hypnotic installation of life-size elderly state leaders, past and present, including Archbishop Makarios and Fidel Castro. These ancient characters are displayed in their declining years slumped in motorised wheelchairs. They move and collide randomly in the space providing a strangely mesmerising display.

Outside on the plaza is an open air café and on Saturdays in the plaza there is Chelsea market – a veritable bustling melee of stalls cooking and selling delicacies from many of the major cuisines of the world. The aroma from the wonderful food permeates the square where you can buy delicious produce such as French cheeses, juices, Middle Eastern, Thai and Spanish food, as well as organic meat, whole food wraps and good Olde English pies.

A trip to London is not complete without a Saturday stroll in this bustling area of London. You can shop in the eclectic collection of designer boutiques, enjoy good food and complete your day with a memorable visit to the excellent and unforgettable Saatchi Gallery.

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new visions

Posted by: mj  :  Category: Digital Art, Graphic Design, Illustration

Posted by: mj  :  Category: Digital Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Painting

Welcome to MJ’s Art!

Posted by: mj  :  Category: Other

Welcome to MJ’s Art. MJ’s Art is a virtual gallery, it’s a vision, it’s the place where young, new, as well as already established artists, may show their works. It’s free, it is professioanally maintained, it is a well recognized brand in the world wide web. You can exploit our website to get the fame you deserve. Enjoy!